You don’t need me to remind you public relations is an extremely stressful field. But, hey, if I don’t, who will? So, allow me to remind you of your stress before I provide a really cool solution to it.
Here are two recent facts:
1.) PR was just named one of the 10 most stressful occupations in the world.
2.) PR practitioners work in the second most caffeinated occupation.
And here, as promised, is your solution. It’s called mindfulness. And, it’s a time-tested, very cool way of reducing stress, improving the quality of your life and, get this, slowing down the aging process. Now, I may work in the smoke-and-mirrors business, but this isn’t snake oil. Rather, it’s the culmination of 33-years of research, study and practice by Ruth Fishel, (pictured,)the author of ‘WRINKLES DON’T HURT, the Joy of Aging Mindfully’ available at Amazon.
Sensing that Ruth had a novel remedy to a very real PR industry problem, I arranged an interview. And, what the 76-year-old author told me wasn’t just remarkable. It made total sense.
Mindfulness is a form of mediation that, Fishel says, can help any stressed out PR executive. And, it’s quicker, safer and more effective than a glass of chardonnay, tab of crystal meth or 20mg of Xanax.
It’s a two-part process that needs to be practiced before it can be mastered. It consists of:
– Setting aside 20 minutes every morning to do nothing more than breathe in and out, and focus on the breathing. Thoughts, be they good, bad or otherwise should be placed in a parking lot as they occur. Twenty minutes of mindfulness, says Fishel, is equal to two hours of sleep. And, what PR executive wouldn’t kill for two more hours of Zzzs each night?
– Exporting the practice breathing to the crisis of the moment. So, when a client calls to complain, a boss pops into the office with a last-minute project or a reporter slams down his phone in disgust, a mindfulness practitioner will immediately ease the stress by, drum roll please, slowly breathing in and out three times.
It’s that simple. But, it’s also that profound. Ruth says mindfulness enables us to uncover negative thoughts and fears, and recognize them for what they are (i.e. nothing more than the fear of fear itself, as FDR said). Fishel gave me a great example from her personal life. Immediately after authoring her first book, ‘The Journey Within,’ she was asked by her publisher to deliver a speech. Ruth refused because she was literally scared to death by the very thought of public speaking. But, her publisher went ahead and booked the address. Frightened but determined, Ruth focused on mindfulness practice each and every day leading up to the speech. She also added a personal affirmation: ‘I am a dynamite, fearless motivational speaker.’
Needless to say, she delivered a great speech and, today, can look back on countless such talks delivered to everyone from school children and recovering alcoholics to prison inmates and senior citizen groups.
And, speaking of senior citizens, Ruth firmly believes that mindfulness retards aging. In fact, she promises that every year spent practicing mindfulness on a daily basis will slow the aging process by a full year. She says mindfulness has been linked to becoming a better listener (since one stays in the moment instead of anticipating an upcoming call, meeting or deadline, or thinking about what you are going to say next). Ruth also says it’s been linked to having fewer operations over a lifetime, maintaining a good memory, strengthening one’s immune system and a small new study even reported mindfulness can lessen getting Alzheimer’s disease because it activates a certain section in the brain that sharpens the memory cells.
Mindfulness, says Fishel, is the single best way to stop worrying about the future (and growing old) while making the most of the moment at hand. In other words, it makes life richer and more rewarding.
It seems to me that people working in a stressed out, crisis-filled occupation such as ours should invest in themselves (and, in Ruth’s book) and begin practicing mindfulness. It sounds a whole lot better than the strategy employed by the Seinfeld character, Frank Costanza, who would throw up his arms, look skyward and scream, “Serenity now! Serenity now!”
You can learn more about Ruth and her other books at www.ruthfishel.com.